Friday 27 July 2018

The Holy Qur'an (Summary): Chapter 107 Sūrat al-Māʻūn (Small Kindnesses / Assistance)

Sūrat al-Māʻūn is a short surah of seven verses, and is contained in the last of the 30th part of the Holy Qur'an. Al Māʻūn means giving away in kindness or showing kindness or assisting the poor.

Ibn Marduyah has cited Ibn Abbas (may Allah bless them both) as saying that this Surah is Makki, and the same also is the view of Ata and Jabir. But Abu Hayyan in Al-Bahr al-Muhit has cited Ibn Abbas, Qatadah and Dahhak as saying that this Surah was revealed at Madinah. In our opinion there is an internal piece of evidence in the Surah itself which points to its being a Madani Revelation. It holds out a threat of destruction to those praying ones who are unmindful of their Prayers and who pray only to be seen. This kind of hypocrites were found only at Madinah, for it was there that Islam and the Muslims gained such strength that many people were compelled to believe from expedience, had to visit the Mosque, join the congregational Prayer and prayed only to be seen of others, so as to be counted among Muslims.

Contrary to this is, at Makkah conditions were altogether different. No one had to pray to be seen. There it was difficult even for the believers to pray in congregation; they prayed secretly and if a person prayed openly he did so only at the risk of his life. This kind of hypocrites found in Makkah did not comprise those who believed and Prayed to be seen but those who in their hearts had know, and acknowledged the Holy Messenger of Allah (upon whom be peace) to be on the true path, but were avoiding to accept Islam in order to maintain their Position of leadership and authority, or were not prepared to take the risk of being afflicted with the kind of hardships with which they found the believers afflicted in the society around them. This condition of the hypocrites at Makkah has been described in vv. 10-11 of Surah Al- Ankabut.

Read the English translation of the Sūrat al-Māʻūn:
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 

"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"
  • Have you seen the one who denies the Recompense?
  • For that is the one who drives away the orphan
  • And does not encourage the feeding of the poor.
  • So woe to those who pray
  • [But] who are heedless of their prayer -
  • Those who make show [of their deeds]
  • And withhold [simple] assistance.
As can be seen by reading the translation of the surah, it talks of those who drive away the poor and needy and the orphans and do not give them their rightful share. And when they see someone hungry and penniless, they mock them and turn away from their assistance. Such are the people who do not even recompose.

Through this surah, Allah has stressed the need of looking after the orphans and the shelter-less and emphasizes on the fact lest poor are left unattended and the sin of leaving them comes on to the those near them and the community as a whole. And this show of kindness and assistance to the poor and needy and orphans should be done without any reference to the religion, beliefs, caste and creed for those who need around us become our collective responsibility.

However, those who give are warned not to do it as to boost their image or as a show off gesture. All acts of kindness and charity should be quietly done for the reward is by Allah not by the onlookers.

In one of the incidents quoted from the earl days of Islam is one which narrates about an orphans whose father left him some wealth and land which was usurped by none other the notorious infidel Abu Jahl. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once asked Abu Jahl to return the wealth and land to the orphan but he flatly refused. When he persistently refused to oblige, one day Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) went with two spears by his side and threatened to kill Abu Jahl if he still resisted. This time Abu Jahl gave in and gave whatever was rightful due of the orphan.

So give alms and charity often, even if it is a bucket of water or a one time meal to the needy. This be done quietly though to please Allah and not as  a show off, for Allah knows what is one's intention and what is in the heart.

You may now listen to the recitation of Sūrat al-Māʻūn in Arabic with English subtitles:

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 |
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